The Dim-Post

June 5, 2014

Waiariki

Filed under: Politics — danylmc @ 9:26 am

There’s been a lot of bluster about Labour and the Mana party going head-to-head in Te Tai Tokerau, and whether Labour ‘understands MMP’ and what it all means for collaboration on the left. But there hasn’t been much mention of the other seat Mana will be hoping to win: Te Ururoa Flavell’s seat of Waiariki.

Mana candidate Annette Sykes came pretty close to winning this seat back in 2011. This time around she’ll have vastly more resources. If she does win it doesn’t matter if Harawira holds his seat: Internet/Mana can still coat-tail in no matter which seat it holds. And Labour doesn’t have to do a deal here, or have a cup of tea: they’re the third-place candidate. All they have to do is not try to hard or, to put it in political terms ‘maximise the party vote’.

maorielectorates

So Labour’s strategy here might be pretty smart. Labour gets to take a strong public stand against Hone Harawira who is the least popular politician in the country, and his deal with Dotcom which is – probably – also very unpopular (we haven’t seen any polling on it yet but presumably Labour has). They also get to take a stand against coat-tailing by promising to scrap the provision if they’re in government. If Sykes wins Waiariki then the Maori Party loses a seat (and a co-leader) which means National loses a seat. A potential Labour coalition would gain one possible seat AND any additional Internet/Mana seats that can coat-tail in. (There’s also a totally plausible post-election environment in which Harawira and Sykes both win their seats using the Internet Party’s resources but the IMP doesn’t win enough party votes to secure a third MP, so Harre and Dotcom get nothing.)

 

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26 Comments »

  1. NZF, the Greens and National combined got almost 5,000 votes. If strategic manouverings go on it could be quite interesting. I can’t see any of those parties wanting IMP in parliament.

    Comment by NeilM — June 5, 2014 @ 9:36 am

  2. It’s always a surprise to go over to the Maori electorates and see how few votes are required for representation. 7651 is a small number of people.

    It’s also unclear what Rawiri Waititi’s strengths and advantages are, compared to two well known contenders. However, given the lack of strategic direction in a number other selections, I’m going to make the assumption that this is not deliberate.

    Comment by George — June 5, 2014 @ 9:36 am

  3. That’s in Waiariki i mean.

    Comment by NeilM — June 5, 2014 @ 9:36 am

  4. But he most obvious deal would between Labour and the MP.

    The MP can’t win in TTT but Labour can , esp with MP votes. Labour can’t win in Waiariki but the MP can, esp with Labour votes.

    Such a deal would avoid either party appearing to sacrifice a candidate.

    Comment by NeilM — June 5, 2014 @ 9:46 am

  5. So Labour’s strategy here might be pretty smart. Labour gets to take a strong public stand against Hone Harawira who is the least popular politician in the country, and his deal with Dotcom which is – probably – also very unpopular (we haven’t seen any polling on it yet but presumably Labour has).

    THIS is what most of the activists on the left “don’t understand”.
    Every extra vote for the IMP is going to be a vote coming from someone else on the left bloc, and there’s probably going to be one or two soft-centre voters moving from Labour to National as a result.

    Comment by Phil — June 5, 2014 @ 10:26 am

  6. I think the Threshold should be 2 MPs, because then you’re actually, nominally a party instead of just someone with 1 electorate seat pretending to be a party to attract extra funding.

    Comment by danylmc — June 5, 2014 @ 11:21 am

  7. @Danyl: You mean, a party would have to win two electorate seats?

    Comment by kalvarnsen — June 5, 2014 @ 11:23 am

  8. THIS is what most of the activists on the left “don’t understand”.

    I don’t know. I think it’s understood pretty well, just maybe not by your average voters (and also that subset of activists who prefer tribal posturing rather then looking at the probable strategic trade-off scenarios that are unfolding).

    Comment by Gregor W — June 5, 2014 @ 11:51 am

  9. Phil @5: “Every extra vote for the IMP is going to be a vote coming from someone else on the left bloc…”

    Some perhaps. The idea is, however, that IMP votes will/may also come from the segment of population who would otherwise not vote at all. Exactly how many are cannibalised votes from the left, and how many are current non-voters (some of whom may defy simple classification into left or right) will be unknown until election time (excepting whatever polling data indicates).

    “… probably going to be one or two soft-centre voters moving from Labour to National as a result.”

    I really doubt this. That would be incredibly dumb. If a voter wants a left government but is concerned by the possible presence of two or three Mana/Internet MPs in that left government, then the solution is to vote for left parties that are not Mana/Internet (i.e. Labour or Greens).

    Comment by RJL — June 5, 2014 @ 12:11 pm

  10. @Danylmc – Why not simply remove the threshold altogether, and remove the coat tailing in the process? It would greatly simplify MMP and make it easier for the public to understand, along with giving a Parliament that would accurately reflect the votes cast.

    Comment by alex — June 5, 2014 @ 12:15 pm

  11. how many are current non-voters (some of whom may defy simple classification into left or right)

    My impressionistic judgement on this is that most non-voters and many current voters make their decisions to vote and who to vote for based on a set of factors that intersect with ideological questions. These voters are equally informed by topical events, vague or specific emotional responses, and impressions of personalities.

    Comment by George — June 5, 2014 @ 12:32 pm

  12. @RJL

    In 2002 National’s vote collapsed. It shifted to UF, NZF, and Labour. Rightly or wrongly, centrist voters were concerned that a Lab-Gre coalition would move the country to the far left, and voted in such a way that would force the production of a centre-left government rather than a left-left government (given that a centre-right government was not an option available to them).

    Or, to put it another way: I don’t get the impression swing voters decide they want a ‘left’ or ‘right’ government. I tend to lean toward the view that they want something which approximates a centre-government, and will vote for which ever of the two main parties has the best chance of delivering approximately that outcome.

    Comment by Phil — June 5, 2014 @ 12:33 pm

  13. “Every extra vote for the IMP is going to be a vote coming from someone else on the left bloc – probably going to be one or two soft-centre voters moving from Labour to National as a result.”

    or maybe you get a whole bunch of people switching from nat to lab AND lab bleeding ex voters further out on the left

    i dont think we can really make such predictions with any kind of accuracy because theres so many possible scenarios for why a person might change their vote

    Comment by framu — June 5, 2014 @ 1:02 pm

  14. Phil @12: “In 2002 National’s vote collapsed. It shifted to UF, NZF, and Labour. Rightly or wrongly, centrist voters were concerned that a Lab-Gre coalition would move the country to the far left…”

    If you say so. However, this is exactly the point, each voter votes for the party that she wants to represent her. A voters doesn’t vote for a party that she doesn’t want, in order to somehow punish the party that she did actually want. In your example, perhaps you are right that many voters did not like the idea of the Greens being in government, so, these voters voted for parties other than the Greens.

    Same thing applies here. If a voter wants to vote Labour and does not want Labour to need the seats of the IMP, then the best, and most obvious, option is to vote for Labour.

    Comment by RJL — June 5, 2014 @ 1:08 pm

  15. RJL wrote: “Same thing applies here. If a voter wants to vote Labour and does not want Labour to need the seats of the IMP, then the best, and most obvious, option is to vote for Labour.”

    that’s obviously true if ‘wants to vote Labour’ is the voter’s strongest motivation. However, what about a voter who thinks ‘Labour are okay, National are kind-of okay too, I don’t like Internet-Mana’? This person may well then think ‘but if Labour are going to go with Internet-Mana, then Labour are not okay, and I would rather vote National’

    Comment by kahikatea — June 5, 2014 @ 1:46 pm

  16. @ Kahikatea
    owever, what about a voter who thinks ‘Labour are okay, National are kind-of okay too, I don’t like Internet-Mana’? This person may well then think ‘but if Labour are going to go with Internet-Mana, then Labour are not okay, and I would rather vote National’

    I was a Young-Nat in 2002, and this is exactly the impression I got from the analysis and soul searching that the party did after the defeat. The type of people you describe are a large chunk of the voting public.

    Comment by Phil — June 5, 2014 @ 4:40 pm

  17. Voters gonna vote.

    Comment by Tom — June 5, 2014 @ 7:16 pm

  18. @alex: That’s my favoured solution too. The main disadvantage is that it would risk bringing in ‘extremist’ parties, but to me the prospect of having a single Destiny NZ MP (for example) isn’t that scary.

    Comment by kalvarnsen — June 5, 2014 @ 8:01 pm

  19. Not totally down on the details of the ‘deal’, but is it also possible if Sykes wins Waiariki and there’s enough party vote for one more MP, it’d be Laila and Sykes? (Or is Hone 1 on the list, no matter what?)

    Comment by rob stowell — June 5, 2014 @ 8:56 pm

  20. Can I just point out that Israel has (had? there was talk of reform) a zero-threshold MMP. The split between the two main parties was usually pretty even, and often the small ultra-religious parties could bargain for – for example – stricter rules in line with their more orthodox faith. It also largely prevented progress in peace talks. That is the counter-example against no-threshold MMP.

    Comment by David in Chch — June 5, 2014 @ 9:56 pm

  21. @rob: That’s not how it works. Parties must submit a list of names ranked 1, 2, 3, etc. They don’t have the option to submit a conditional list (e.g. one that reads “A is #1 unless X happens, then B is #1″.

    Comment by kalvarnsen — June 5, 2014 @ 11:12 pm

  22. That is the counter-example against no-threshold MMP.

    It was one if the main concerns about MNP that it would give undue influence to small parties. And that is how it’s working out.

    I’m not against MMP but I never believed that it would be more “democratic” than FPP.

    I have a low expectation of what democracy can achieve. And that’s to muddle through crises, provide a level of competent management, and provide a means by which no one group gets in trenched in power and so prevent violent feuding.

    How well that gets done for me is a pragmatic definition of what democracy is. So I don’t consider either MMP or FPP to be any more or less democratic.

    The centre-left centre-right split forms the basis of that arrangement. And I think that basic split into two main blocks is a permanent feature of democracy.

    Comment by NeilM — June 6, 2014 @ 9:41 am

  23. Here’s some reading for you NeilM: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proportional_representation

    MMP is demonstrably “more democratic” than FPP as it produces outcomes that are more proportional i.e. outcomes that better represent the actual votes cast.

    How exactly are the small parties exerting undue influence? I’m not interested in unsubstantiated platitudes about tails wagging dogs, etc. I’d like some real evidence and examples.

    From what I can see most (all?) small parties that have entered into a coalition to form a government have pretty-much self-destructed under the weight of doing so, this doesn’t seem like undue influence to me.

    Comment by Rob — June 6, 2014 @ 1:52 pm

  24. >The split between the two main parties was usually pretty even, and often the small ultra-religious parties could bargain for – for example – stricter rules in line with their more orthodox faith. It also largely prevented progress in peace talks. That is the counter-example against no-threshold MMP.

    I think it might be fairer to say that what prevents progress in peace talks in Israel is that a majority of Israelis do not want them enough. It’s not a particularly powerful counterexample – all you’ve discovered is that Israelis don’t think about peace talks the way you do.

    >It was one if the main concerns about MNP that it would give undue influence to small parties. And that is how it’s working out.

    I disagree. I think the influence is about right, given that they sit between similarly sized factions that disagree. Of course the parties in between should get the deciding vote, if the majority is split otherwise. That’s majoritarianism. Otherwise it become minoritarianism, which is what we got frequently under FPP.

    Comment by Ben Wilson — June 6, 2014 @ 2:09 pm

  25. As to the point of the post by Danyl, I guess it comes down to which Labour dislikes more, the MP or Mana. I don’t know the answer, would probably think they dislike MP more because MP can go with National where Mana will not. Also, MP was formed by Labour defectors. In other words, I think Danyl is onto something here.

    Comment by Ben Wilson — June 6, 2014 @ 2:13 pm

  26. >And I think that basic split into two main blocks is a permanent feature of democracy.

    I totally disagree. Completely and utterly. There is no reason at all for that to be normal. If it happens by itself, that’s OK, but there’s absolutely no good reason at all to design the system so as to make it happen. To a great many problems in the world, there are more than 2 solutions.

    Comment by Ben Wilson — June 6, 2014 @ 2:24 pm


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